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Posted on Sun. Nov. 25, 2012 - 12:01 am EDT

Toy for Tots lets children meet Santa

If you go

What: Santa’s Landing event

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday; Santa will arrive at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Smith Field, 426 W. Ludwig Road

Cost: Admission is one new, unwrapped toy to be donated to Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation

Before Santa heads back to the North Pole to fill his sleigh with toys, he’s making a quick stop at a local airport – riding in style in a helicopter.

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority will host its first Santa’s Landing event from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Smith Field on Ludwig Road. Santa’s flight is expected to arrive at 5:30 p.m.

Children and their families are invited to enjoy refreshments and sit with Santa for holiday photos. Some of Santa’s North Pole friends will also make an appearance at the event.

Admission to the event is free with the donation of one new, unwrapped toy for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation. Parking is limited, so visitors are asked to arrive early.

“This is a great opportunity for the whole family to stop by the airport and enjoy a little holiday fun, all for a very worthy cause,” Scott Hinderman, executive director of airports, said in a written statement. “Santa has never been to Smith Field, so we would love to draw a large crowd to welcome him to Fort Wayne.”

Last year, according to the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority, the Toys for Tots program benefited more than 6,400 Fort Wayne children. This year, more than 1,500 families are seeking assistance, the release said.

Additional Toys for Tots donations can be dropped off at Smith Field, 426 W. Ludwig Road, Fort Wayne.

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